Meditation and taijiquan

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Meditation and taijiquan

Postby oragami_itto on Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:41 am

I've seen people with top notch skills say here and elsewhere that meditation (seated?) is what brought them to that level.

I was curious what the group thought of that claim. Is a particular type of meditation better than others? What is the connection between meditation and taijiquan skills?
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby Doc Stier on Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:56 am

Daily meditation works for me. First in the mind and then in the body.
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby oragami_itto on Thu Nov 25, 2021 10:08 am

Doc Stier wrote:Daily meditation works for me. First in the mind and then in the body.

What makes up your practice? 15 minutes in full lotus with a finger mudra?
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby zrm on Thu Nov 25, 2021 6:34 pm

Nothing too complicated. I used to do some Taoist internal alchemy breathing stuff but now I tend to keep it simple like what Wan Lai Sheng describes here.

https://brennantranslation.wordpress.co ... editation/

Hai Yang also has some good lectures on Taoist meditation although he get pretty technical in regards to internal alchemy concepts later on. Look up Xiu Dao on his channel.

Last edited by zrm on Thu Nov 25, 2021 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby Doc Stier on Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:14 pm

oragami_itto wrote:
Doc Stier wrote:Daily meditation works for me. First in the mind and then in the body.

What makes up your practice? 15 minutes in full lotus with a finger mudra?

Hahaha! Get serious, Jason. 15 minutes is wimpy. ::)

My daily meditation practice is usually an hour of seated Raja Yoga meditation both early morning and late night, plus an hour of standing meditation at midday. It's all good! :)
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby Bao on Thu Nov 25, 2021 10:20 pm

I have done seated meditation. Back then I thought it was valuable because it was easier to reach a deeper level of consciousness and relaxation than in regular Taijiquan practice. So the meditation acted as a pointer and showed me a direction for my practice. However I don’t feel that it’s necessary for Tai Chi and actually, nowadays I prefer Tai Chi meditation in standing and form practice than sitting meditation.

So no, I don’t think that seated meditation is anyway near necessary in order to reach a higher level. But it can be a complimentary practice and sometimes help you on the road. It depends much on yourself and your own personality.

This is a part from a post in my blog on Tai Chi and meditation, I won’t put up a link here as I don’t like to use this board for self-promotion. But you can search for it there if you are interested:

The most common meditation techniques tend to focus on one single idea, thought or concept, and let all other thoughts pass by. The consciousness is arranged around the single idea so the thoughts and feelings can be controlled by ignoring them. But if you look at Tai Chi, regardless it’s about standing practice or form, there is not this kind of attachment. The nature of Tai Chi mind is non-attached. The state of the Tai Chi mind is empty, yet none of what is happening around you disregard, no impression ignored or suppressed. Everything that happens passes by like the wind, without judgement or attachment. So from this point of view, in order to prevent confusion and misunderstanding, it’s better to explain what meditation or a meditative state in Tai Chi practice might mean and make a clear distinction between “common” meditation techniques. Even if that Tai Chi is not a meditation technique, and “Tai Chi is not meditation”, are valid statements, Tai Chi is still a meditative practice. From my own personal experience, it can work as meditation and affect the practitioner in similar ways as in traditional meditation. Thus “Tai Chi is meditation” is also a valid statement. Which one that is true or false depends on point of view and what values you put into the two different terms.

My teacher explained that as meditation speaking, Tai Chi Chuan works as self-hypnosis. The movements of the form, especially if performed slow and even, has a hypnotic effect. This is the nature of the meditative practice of Tai Chi and it’s the only technique you’ll ever need to find yourself in a deeper state of consciousness. The more slow, the better meditatively speaking. I myself have found that there is a point of speed, when I speed down to a certain pace, where I can more or less automatically reach another deeper level of calmness, awareness and consciousness. I have practiced common meditation techniques as well, common techniques as well as deeper not so common methods. Personally, I find that what you can reach with your mind in Tai Chi practice is pretty much the same as in traditional meditation.
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby GrahamB on Fri Nov 26, 2021 2:02 am

Nothing screams "benefits of meditation" quite as loud as bragging about how long you meditate - lol ;D ;D ;D
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby taiwandeutscher on Fri Nov 26, 2021 6:36 am

Doc Stier wrote:
oragami_itto wrote:
Doc Stier wrote:Daily meditation works for me. First in the mind and then in the body.

What makes up your practice? 15 minutes in full lotus with a finger mudra?

Hahaha! Get serious, Jason. 15 minutes is wimpy. ::)

My daily meditation practice is usually an hour of seated Raja Yoga meditation both early morning and late night, plus an hour of standing meditation at midday. It's all good! :)


Yeah, even some don't like your statement, I do read you, as you know!
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby wayne hansen on Fri Nov 26, 2021 10:41 am

Gee doc 3 hours before you even start your martial arts
I’m impressed
How much does your martial arts add to it timewise
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby robert on Fri Nov 26, 2021 11:57 am

I think meditation is misunderstood. One of the old Buddhist suttas on meditation is the Satipatthana Sutta. The title is translated as The Discourse on the Arousing of Mindfulness. If you're truly mindful you're meditating. Some of the sections in the sutta are -

The Contemplation of the Body
----The Section on Breathing
----The Section on the Modes of Deportment
The Contemplation of Feeling
The Contemplation of Consciousness
The Contemplation of Mental Objects

and so on. In The Section on the Modes of Deportment it is written

“Again, bhikkhus, when walking, a bhikkhu understands: ‘I am walking’; when standing, he understands: ‘I am standing’; when sitting, [57] he understands: ‘I am
sitting’; when lying down, he understands: ‘I am lying down’; or he understands accordingly however his body is disposed. 7. “In this way he abides contemplating the body as a body internally, externally, and both internally and externally … And he abides independent, not clinging to anything in the world. That too is how a bhikkhu
abides contemplating the body as a body.

I think it's obvious that if you're mindful of your training you will be better than if you're just going through the motions, if you're not paying attention to what you're doing.

Zhuangzi writes about this in his story of cook Ding - https://daoismandplay.wordpress.com/2021/03/08/cook-ding/

Cook Ding is mindful. And with taijiquan form training the mind is turned inward; are you loose and relaxed, are you lightly pressing up the top of the head, is the chest dropped, are you connected? Are you using neijin?

My opinion.
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby Doc Stier on Fri Nov 26, 2021 12:54 pm

GrahamB wrote:Nothing screams "benefits of meditation" quite as loud as bragging about how long you meditate - lol ;D ;D ;D

Whatever, Graham! Not bragging, just telling it as it is. I was asked about my meditation practice and answered accordingly. How interesting that you mock me for maintaining a more serious and self-disciplined training regimen than others choose to, apparently including you. :-\

Additionally, I generally do 3-4 hours of physical movement training as well, i.e. stretching, neitan, forms, drills, etc. If any of you here can't imagine yourself being sufficiently motivated to regularly do likewise, or even believe it would be possible for anyone to regularly do likewise, then that's your problem, not mine. Please carry on as you were. :P
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby wayne hansen on Fri Nov 26, 2021 1:07 pm

Super impressed
How long have you been keeping up that regime
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby GrahamB on Fri Nov 26, 2021 1:13 pm

Oh don't get me wrong Doc, I'm very impressed, I just wish it hadn't killed your sense of humour. Oh well. ???
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby Doc Stier on Fri Nov 26, 2021 1:35 pm

wayne hansen wrote:Super impressed
How long have you been keeping up that regime

Thank you, sir! That has been my typical daily training regimen since I opened my first school in June of 1975. I knew that most top level amateur and professional athletes devoted many hours daily to their training in order to achieve excellence in their chosen sports, as did the Old Masters in every style of martial arts, so I concluded that if that type of commitment worked for them, it would similarly work for me. I thus began a gradual process of increasing daily training time, starting in 1961 at 30 minutes once daily, then to one hour daily with both morning and evening sessions of 30 minutes each, later to 60 minutes twice daily, etc. At each increase, the personal results and benefits were significant, making me ever more hungry for further returns on the time investment. Small investments typically yield small gains. Larger investments usually produce greater gains. This is true of most things, in my experience. :)
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Re: Meditation and taijiquan

Postby Doc Stier on Fri Nov 26, 2021 1:45 pm

GrahamB wrote:Oh don't get me wrong Doc, I'm very impressed, I just wish it hadn't killed your sense of humour. Oh well. ???

No worries. I apologize for misreading your sense of humor. I generally dislike braggards, and therefore don't ever wish to be perceived as one. It's all good. We're cool. 8-)
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